An important emphasis for the School of Computing at the National College of Ireland is research that makes a difference for student learning. This is realized in the development of automated systems to enhance learning: Orla Lahart is developing a system to provide online mentoring for teachers; Dietmar Janetzko is developing dialogue systems to respond to learners or instructors producing course materials; Stephan Weibelzahl’s group (including Sabine Moebs, Teresa Hurley, Diana Chihaia) has a variety of efforts to build adaptive learning spaces; Keith Maycock is working on automatic generation of instructional content to suit the cognitive ability and pedagogic preference of learners.
There is also innovative research on learning styles (Elaine Maher, Paul Stynes, Pramod Pathak); students’ perceptions of software development concepts (Frances Sheridan); the use of mobile devices to support learning (Paul Hayes); elearning (Eugene O’Loughlin); new approaches to enhance student engagement (Pramod Pathak); workplace learning (Leo Casey, Abigail Reynolds, Michael Coleman); digital literacy (Leo Casey, Abigail Reynolds); and many other examples. The recent inauguration of a new elearning usability lab (Leo Casey, Stefan Weibelzahl) further supports this research.
A distinctive feature of most of this research is that it is applied to the teaching within the School itself. Thus researchers do not simply study how those in other settings learn or teach; they apply it to their own setting. This means that the School is automatically aligned with the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning movement. I hope to see its research appear soon in journals such as the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (IJ-SoTL) and at SoTL conferences.